FP Virtual Dialogue: Uniting for Democratic Equality

Reversing the Rollback on Women’s Rights

Major and persistent gaps between men and women across political, economic, professional, and other factors have stalled progress for gender parity initiatives around the world. The recent International Men and Gender Equality Survey demonstrates a compounding issue—that even men who support equality in the abstract become reticent to support specific policies proven to increase opportunities for women and reduce discrimination against sexual and gender minorities. The World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Report shows that at the current rate of progress, full parity won’t be achieved for another 155 years.

Increasing trends of illiberalism and authoritarianism are only making things worse, with misogyny and rollbacks on democracy fueling each other, according to recent analysis by political scientists at Harvard University. In countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Russia, Egypt, Brazil, India, Poland, and Turkey, outright autocracy or backsliding democrats are suppressing or reversing women’s rights as an intentional political strategy to narrow discourse, participation and engagement in order to maintain their hold on power. Women’s equal and active political participation is central to the battle for democracy, but it will also take meaningful and broad engagement by men in power to help quell the rising tide of illiberal misogyny around the world.

Against this backdrop, Foreign Policy, in partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), will convene a Democracy Game Changer conversation with leaders from government and civil society to discuss how men can become agents for gender equality and women’s empowerment, transforming not only the political landscape, but contributing to the long-term democratic development, prosperity, and resilience of nations. 

Join the conversation online using #Uniting4DemocraticEquality.

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Event Details

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Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Founder, Umlambo Foundation & Former UN Under- Secretary-General & Executive Director, UN Women
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is former United Nations Under- Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. She was awarded
a doctorate in Technology andEducation fro...

May Sabe Phyu

Burmese Activist & Director, Gender Equality Network (GEN)
May Sabe Phyu is the Director of the Gender Equality Network (GEN), a coalition of more than 100 organizations collaborating to advocate for women’s rights to end discriminati...
May Sabe Phyu Portrait
May Sabe Phyu Portrait

Gary Barker

President and CEO, Equimundo
Gary Barker, PhD, has been a global voice in engaging men and boys in advancing gender equality, gender justice and positive masculinities for three decades. He is the CEO and c...
G Barker photo
G Barker photo

Sandra Pepera

Senior Associate and Director for Gender, Women and Democracy, NDI
Sandra Pepera is a career diplomat and international development professional. Before joining NDI as its director for Gender, Women and Democracy in 2014, she spent thirteen yea...
Sandra Pepera, Director Gender, Women and Democracy
Sandra Pepera, Director Gender, Women and Democracy

Reena Ninan

Founder, Good Trouble Productions
Reena is a television journalist who has worked as a White House correspondent, foreign reporter, and news anchor for ABC, CBS, and Fox News. She has reported around the world ...